January 3, 1820
This is my first diary entry and I want to introduce myself. My name is Diana. I was born on the day of the blue moon thirteen years ago, and I work at the forge with my Papa, Joe. I help sharpen the picks, craft household items, fix broken tools, create new types of mining gear, and, if I’m lucky, I sometimes pick at the loose rock for leftover diamonds. My favorite pastime is forging daggers and selling them to travelers who pass by our village. ‘Tis nearly sunrise, so I mustn’t dally any longer.
Diana quickly got ready for the long day ahead of her. She washes her face and teeth, goes to the privy, combs out her long black hair with her fingers, pulls on her dress and apron, makes the bed, fixes the breakfast of porridge, eggs, and coffee, slips on her shoes, wraps her shawl around her shoulders, and feeds the dogs some raw meat, all before the sunrise. She walked over to the mines, carrying the newly sharpened picks in the basket that also held some wet cloth, dried buffalo meat, a canteen of spring water, and a letter from her mother. Diana’s mother died many years ago, and she just loves that letter.
“Good morning Mister Baxter, how’s the Missus? Nice to see you, Lily! Is your father in the mines? Mary! I thought you and your father went out for the winter? Why have you not gone yet?” Diana was certain that she knew every miner who ever lived in the district in her lifetime, and some who are in other places. This morning she saw a new man, a lot bigger and taller than any other man in the mines. She wondered if he was a new miner, and she was determined to find out who he was. After all, she did know every miner here.
“Good morning stranger! I’m Diana; I work at the forge with my father. Do you mind telling me your name?”
“Oh, I’m sorry; I did not see you there. My name is Alvor. Do you know where I can find a job as a blacksmith or a miner? There’s not much I can do besides use or make mining tools.” The man had a strong Scottish accent, almost as strong as Diana’s.
“I think that my father could get you a job mining the tough rock in the south-west corner of the mine. He’s most likely at the water pump, over there.” Diana walked the man over to the pump.
“So you’re the only girl working at the forge?” Alvor asked. “I thought there would be more girls working with the newly forged tools.”
“Yes, I’m the only girl. I know, it’s strange, but the girls here are made of nothing but sugar and spice. My papa says that I’m the only girl he knows besides Mama who is made of molten metal and blacksmith hammers. I think that there has to be more girls like that than just Mama and me. I once knew a girl who forged a perfect axe…” Diana talked the whole way over to the pump. She was looking forward to working with this new miner.
Soon Diana saw that this new miner was stronger than all of the other miners put together. He broke the tools he was given, but then Diana made bigger and stronger tools, the kind of tools she had seen in paintings of giants. When he broke those, he started to just use his hands to break away the rock. Once, a man who thought he was stronger than Alvor said that he bet all year’s pay that Alvor could not mine, in any shape or form, more than two pounds of diamond in three days. Alvor took the bet, and he pulled the mountain out of the ground and shook it so hard that one hundred pounds of diamonds fell out of the rock. Alvor was the strongest miner in the world, and after a while, he was the richest miner, too!
December 25, 1820
Alvor is really nice, and he shares his pay with me when I’m save’n up for something big, like a new dress or something that I only get on special occasions, like a block of steel to forge with. Papa says that I spend too much time with Alvor and not enough time with the forge. I think that that’s nonsense, ‘cause when I’m with him, I’m normally at the forge working as I talk. Alvor’s my only friend, and I intend to keep it that way.
I got two Christmas presents this year, one from Alvor and one from Papa. Alvor got me some steel blocks (Thank you Alvor), and Papa got me a new set of pens and pieces of parchment (Thank you Papa). I just made three new daggers, a shield, a war axe, a few canteens, and a special blade that I’ll use as an example to show the other girls just what a girl can do. I think that I’ll start teaching the girls around the town to use a forge; I could sure use the help! I love my family! Merry Christmas!